HC Deb 03 April 1805 vol 4 cc184-6
Sir John Newport

rose to make his promised motion for the production of a copy of the case laid before the attorney and solicitor general of England on the 16th of May, 1801, by direction of the commissioners for awarding compensation in Ireland in consequence of the union, relative to the claim for compensation from the attorney and solicitor general of Ireland; together with a copy of the opinion of the attorney and solicitor general of England upon this case. The reason which induced him to bring forward this motion, the hon. bart. stated to be this, that the house should be put in possession of the nature and conduct of this singular commission. It appeared, that notwithstanding their appeal to the judgment of the attorney and solicitor general of England, they had acted in direct contradiction to the opinion delivered by those learned gentlemen. But still more, and it was particularly necessary to call the attention of par- liament to the subject, this commission had now been existing for several years, without really having any thing to do, and seemed still determined to go on. The commission consisted of four persons, each of whom received a salary of 1,200l. per year, and it was now above three years since the commissioners wrote a letter to the lord lieutenant, stating, that their business was so much diminished that they had no occasion to meet every day, as they had previously done, and requesting that they might be called on to meet only every Monday. In order to contrive some appearance of employment, he understood that those commissioners prolonged an inquiry upon a particular claim for several months, dividing the inquiry between them two and two alternately, Monday after Monday. It really struck him as matter of surprize and shame that such a commission should have been so long tolerated, and there appeared no disposition whatever to put an end to it. Indeed, according as it went on, it was likely to continue for ever, unless something was done to terminate its existence. Feeling that any expenditure of the public money that could be avoided under the present circumstances of the country ought to be prevented, and that this commission was now become unnecessary, he should take occasion very soon to call the attention of the house to this subject.

Dr. Duigenan

said, that he was a member of the commission alluded to at the time stated in the motion, and that he did not recollect any such case as the hon. bart. alluded to. As three of the commissioners were lawyers he did not think they required any advice from the law officers mentioned in the motion, or from any other persons as to the mode of performing, this duty, The learned doctor added, that he had long since resigned his place in the commission:

Sir John Newport

said, that it had been already stated by the commissioners themselves, that such case had been laid before the attorney and solicitor general of England, and all he wished was, to see the opinion winch had been given upon the case so stated.

Mr. Sturges Bourne

was ready to pay attention to the opinions of eminent gentlemen at the bar, on cases fairly stated to them, and especially those who were so eminent in their profession as the gentlemen alluded to; but as this was a ques- tion concerning the affairs of Ireland, he thought the opinion of the attorney and solicitor general of that part of the United Kingdom ought to be taken also.

Mr. Kinnaird

thought the hon. gent. who spoke last had made an extraordinary proposition by desiring to have the opinion of the only two gentlemen in the kingdom, who, by the rules of law and common sense, were necessarily excluded from giving it, because it was a case upon their own claim.—The motion was then put and carried.